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New State-by-State Data Shows Pandemic’s Impact on Child Care

June 02, 2021

Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) today released new state-by-state data on child care supply and capacity, quality rating and improvement systems (QRIS) and Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) agency services from the year 2020.  

Of the 45 states that reported information, from 2019 to 2020, 25 states reported a decrease in the number of center-based programs and 26 states reported a decrease in the number of family child care programs. 

This new data is based on an annual survey of CCR&R agencies or other key child care stakeholders in each state.  

Link to state data: 

“We all know that 2020 was an extremely difficult year for the child care system,” said Lynette M. Fraga, Ph.D., CEO of Child Care Aware® of America. “Providers were leaving the field before the pandemic and when they had to close or experienced massive drops in attendance due to COVID-19, their ability to stay in business was further threatened. It is our hope that some relief funds over the past year have helped to prevent the worst from happening in the child care system. But our research shows that permanent closures are real in many states and have started to have a measurable impact. We also know from other surveys and stories that providers may be in debt, struggling to find workers, and unsure about their future.” 

CCAoA’s survey included a series of questions about how CCR&R agencies helped providers during the pandemic:     

  • Financial assistance (50% of respondents) - This includes purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies for child care providers and distributing grant money to help them stay afloat.   
  • Training (63%) - This includes educating providers about recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related to child care and how to navigate the various changes to state licensing regulation.  
  • Technical assistance (83%) - CCR&Rs helped providers make adjustments to their operations to keep everyone safe and comply with new licensing rules. 
  • Other services (50%) – Respondents reported other services such as mental health support, informing providers about grant opportunities and updating CCR&R websites to include information about COVID-19.  

CCAoA recommends that federal and state policymakers ensure relief funds are used in ways that address the immediate needs of families and providers while also laying the foundation for child care in the long term. Even with the considerable investments that have been made for pandemic-related relief,  the solution for saving and strengthening child care lies in long-term, robust and thoughtful investment. 

“The child care sector was broken long before COVID-19 and it is not sufficient to restore it to where it was prior to the pandemic,” said Mario Cardona, Chief of Policy and Practice at CCAoA. “The sector needs robust, long-term investment to build a system that equitably meets the needs of children, families, educators and providers.”  

Topics: Press Release

Written by CCAoA